Shivers down my tattooed spine…

I grew up hearing stories about how bad I was as a little kid…I’m talking from birth to age five. “You were a little brat,” they would inform me.  (All of them…grandparents, aunts, parents, you name it.  They all had a story about bratty little Sarah.)

Now that I am an adult, (amazing I survived, but Mom assures me it was only because I was cute that she didn’t kill me,) Mom has it all figured out…

“You were suddenly fine when you turned five, and we had a good ten years during which you were good. Then, you turned fifteen.”

As you can imagine, the stories and bad reputation pick up again around age fifteen.  Mom says that I tricked her.  That ten year period was a break I gave them, but I was just being nice…planning the miscreant behavior I was about to pull on good ol’ Mom and Dad.  What can I say?  She’s probably right.  I was a horrible, wicked, up-to-no-good kind of teenager, and I will never be running for office of any kind.  If my children turn out to be trouble makers, everyone can just go ahead and blame it on me.  Anyhow, we all survived, didn’t we?  I’m fairly responsible and conformed these days, right?  (Mom, that question, if you are reading this, was not intended for your response.)

Yesterday, I couldn’t help but laugh when I checked the analytics of my blog, “My Name is Sarah,” and the search engines revealed to me that someone had found my blog this week by Googling, ‘tattoo artist named Dusty in Venice, California.’  Somewhere in the archives of My Name is Sarah, I revealed my first tattoo experience and the name of the leather-clad man who gave that tattoo to me on a trip to Venice Beach, and apparently, someone found my blog because of it.  After I stopped laughing, I called Mom to inform her.  Mom will be so proud, I thought.

Mom instantly recalled the story of her suspecting I had gotten a tattoo and how she discovered me. I had to share her memory.  I remember it well myself…

Picture a sweet, young Sarah, age sixteen, sugar and spice and all things nice.  Okay, fine…  Picture the sixteen-year-old trouble maker my parents tell everyone about.  We’re at the mall…(Don’t all good teenage stories involve a mall?)  Mom has a bad leg.  (She’s not a pirate or anything.  She had a running injury when I was in middle school and dislocated and tore everything in one leg in particular.)  She is so graciously taking her teenage terror shopping for clothes, but she keeps asking to come into the dressing room as her old injury is acting up.

Of course, I can’t let her into the dressing room.  I have just returned from spring break in Los Angeles, where I got a lovely new tattoo, thanks to Dusty the tattoo artist!

I remember her knocking on the dressing room door.  “Sarah, let me in. I need to sit down.”

“No, Mom.  I’m almost done.”

“Why won’t you let me in?”

“I don’t want you to see my new tattoo, Mom!” I tease and burst out laughing.

Mom replies, “Well hurry up, then.” (And hurry up, I did.) Obviously, her sweet, darling Sarah wouldn’t return from California with a tattoo, so she doesn’t even question me.

The next day, I return from school, and my sister is standing with Mom in the kitchen.  My sister doesn’t live with us at the time but has stopped by to say hi.  I walk into the kitchen and suddenly feel like a trap has been set.  I’m already on nerves.  My sarcasm can only save me for so long.  Summer vacation is coming up, and my family lives on the river…swimming and water skiing all summer.  They WILL find out about the tattoo…I eye my sister warily.  Has she told Mom?  I had told her about the tattoo after all.  Was she a traitor?

Mom looks between us slowly, and suddenly a suspicious look crosses her face.  She grabs my shoulders and says, “You have a tattoo!”

It was not a question. It was a statement.

My eyes dart to the traitor. “Coleen told you!” I accuse back. (As if I am in any place to be making accusations.  What can I say?  I was a little punk.)

Mom looks at me threateningly.  “No…but you just did.”

Sigh, inward groan, defeat…all at once, I feel it all.  “You tricked me.”

I won’t share the rest of the details from that day.  I’ll leave it to you to imagine the conversation between mother and sixteen-year-old teenage hellion, recently returned from Venice Beach with a detailed account about the tattoo artist who DID NOT I.D. her.

Don’t worry about me getting mine, because I am definitely getting paid back for terrorizing Mom. Mom vowed it would happen eventually. I’ve mentioned it on my blog before, but I have to again…  I recall the day she waved her finger at me threateningly and spoke the curse, which instantly was cast upon me.  “I hope that when you grow up, Sarah, you have a daughter…just….likeyou….”

The words still send shivers down my tattooed spine.

My little ‘Sarah’s’ are both up to tricks already…Why just last week my youngest poured egg whites into my coffee, colored the bananas in the kitchen black with a marker (thank goodness it wasn’t the wall,) and hid my car keys.  And she is only four.  Who knows what she’ll be like when she’s fifteen.  Lord, help us…  And if she shares her mother’s sense of humor, I am in even more trouble…

Yes, I feel bad about what I did to my parents, but do I find any of it amusing now that I am a conformed and recovered mischief maker?  Moi?  Of course not…

Well, there is the other part of the Los Angeles story…It was revealed after a parental unit searched my room later on that year. I will never forget the day Mom discovered there was another Sarah, who looked JUST LIKE ME, living in Malibu, California.  Accepting the defeat and the loss of my fake I.D. all at once, I let her hear it all, including the very exciting tale of buying a fake I.D. from some very nice gentlemen in south central L.A.  I can still recall the look on Mom’s face…

Oh, I was a bad kid, yes. And I feel awful about it. (Mostly.) But the memory of Mom discovering my 21-year-old California twin?  Now, that one still makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.  Sorry.

If any of you would like to send sympathy messages to my dear mother, Jacque, feel free to leave a comment below.  That poor woman could use some sympathy.  After all, I was one of three kids, and one of them, no names mentioned here, ha ha ha, ran neck and neck with me! 😉


(Originally posted September 2012 on My Name is Sarah’s old site.)


Coffee Talk

(*Originally posted on July 30, 2011 on My Name is Sarah’s old site)

When Mom pointed her finger at me during my sixteenth year of life, vowing that one day I would be paid back for a list full of deeds, (not worth revisiting for the moment), I must admit I was certain she was referring to a time when I would have teenagers, not preschoolers.  All of a sudden, the inquisitive four-year-old in the house has become a teenager…No, she’s not breaking curfew or skipping school, activities which I certainly know nothing about, but she’s opinionated about everything, from the socks she wears to the news report flashing across the TV.  She has to have the last word, she wants to know how, exactly, she and her sister got out of Mommy’s belly, and heaven forbid you politely suggest how you could do her hair.  She likes it tangled.  Do not touch.

The three-year-old may not share her sister’s constant interest in talking, but she has her own way of communicating.  From placing her sweet, little hands on either side of my head in the morning and not-so-gently shaking it from side to side, saying, “Wake up!” to sporadically throwing toys at my head, she is quite skillful at expressing herself.  How does one cope with this insanity?  Coffee… the flavorful godsend, finally back in my life, after a six month absence.  The results are in:  dodging projectile objects aimed at your head is much easier with coffee in the system.

Six months of being in a zombie-like state would have been perfectly acceptable, maybe, as an undergrad, (and let’s be honest, it may have happened), but while serving as the protector, guardian, and responsible party, AKA stay-at-home-mom, of two completely unpredictable, wild creatures, I meant children, caffeine-induced coherency is highly recommended.  No harm was done during the aforementioned experiment, both of my children are healthy and accounted for, but the haze has been lifted.  Clarity rules, and I can keep up with my second born when she runs through the house with a five pound bag of flour or all of the batteries she has swiftly removed from the TV remote.

Already today, I was licked on the face by a little sweetheart pretending to be a puppy dog, my eardrums were tested for their ability to withstand close-proximity screaming, I have already vacuumed up one child-made mess, and I was reminded as both of my children barged into the bathroom that I will never again pee in private.  Haven’t for over four years and won’t be anytime soon.

After the first cup of freshly brewed Starbucks, (oh how I missed you), Audrey wants to know, again, why we decided to have a second child.  She liked it, “with just one!” (Obviously.)  What kind of children am I raising, you might ask?  Well, let’s just say, so far, Mom’s delightful promise from years ago, which is sometimes referred to as a curse, might be coming true.

My sister was the perfect child.  I know this not because I was a witness.  Ahem, she is the oldest!  I know this because I was constantly reminded of it as a young, mischief-maker.  What goes on in my sister’s house in Boston?  Why there you might find my three-year-old niece politely sipping from an antique tea set while solving a Sudoku puzzle.  This proves my theory of the powerful Mom’s curse that was cast on me sixteen years ago. (Yes…do the math…Wow, I’m getting old!)  Evidently, older sister was perfect, and therefore, gets perfect child.  Sweet sixteen-year-old Sarah was…well, you get the picture.

Do I really believe in curses?  No.  But I’ll tell you what I do believe in…Coffee…Now, you must excuse me…There is a stampede running through my living room requiring my immediate attention, and someone has to be responsible here.  (Mom would be so proud.)

My Name is Sarah…

(*Originally posted on July 29, 2011 on My Name is Sarah’s old site…By the way, welcome to my new site!)

“Wow, Mommy, your butt is huge!”

The words cheerfully escape my four-year-old daughter’s mouth as I dry off after a delightfully hot, “de-stressing” shower.

Huge.  I feel my stress level begin to rise again as the word dances around in my head.  Maybe I should take another hot shower.  “It’s not nice to say things about someone’s body, Audrey.”

“But your butt wobbles when you walk, Mommy!”  Her eyes are wide and her expression quite assured as she stares at me unblinking.

I point towards the bedroom door.  “Go watch cartoons while I finish dressing… please.”

‘Said’ butt might be larger than it was, say, before child number two, and if we’re really going to make comparisons, substantially larger than a four-year-olds’ behind.  Still, in the ongoing battle with insecurities that I wage, the statement could have been a little easier to handle, perhaps, without the explanation points and excessive enthusiasm.

  Maybe I should join a gym so my commitment to exercise can be guaranteed by a financial obligation.  Of course, then I would have to leave my three-year-old in a room with strangers, which would totally freak her out, since she’s attached to my side…which, oh my gosh, I wonder what she’s been doing while I took a three minute shower?!?

I run into the toy room, comb in hand, as if it may somehow help with whatever disaster awaits me, and both of my girls are quietly playing together with their collection of dinosaurs.  Relieved, I begin combing my hair.  The dinosaurs are an obsession and mystery I’m not really interested in figuring out at this point.  If they prefer dinosaurs over Barbie dolls, the better off they’ll be, as far as I’m concerned.  Why should I teach them that less than size zero women, with hardly enough weight to make the scale move an inch, is the body type they should identify with and long to have?  Not that they notice these things at such a young age…I mean, what preschooler notices weight and…Oh yes, mine…Sigh.

Oh well, no gym membership for me, not yet anyway.  Being married to a chef-slash-new-business-owner requires penny pinching while my husband works like a madman to build and save for our future…It also requires exercising within the walls of your own living room.  It’s Denise Austin, Zumba, and Billy Blanks Taebo, for this stay-at-home-mom.  Well, thirty to forty-five minutes of it at least.  After all, I have an agenda to keep up with daily.

First, there’s the part where I try and raise happy, educated, balanced, ‘un-screwed-up’ children, and then there are the Mom chores…laundry, unplanned messes, cooking, etc.  And then we arrive at my favorite part.  Writing.  It’s a daily chore, a daily thrill, and occasionally, a heartbreaking process.  During my three-year-quest to find a literary agent, for the manuscripts I have written, I have mastered one thing for sure…the art of handling rejection.

Mom pointed this out to me the other day.  I had just received the hundredth (real life figure which I will refrain from mentioning) rejection letter from a literary agency regarding one of my manuscripts and was feeling the usual gut-punching, sting of rejection.  I mean, they don’t even read any of my actual books.  These rejections are based off of query letters about my book, which despite reading numerous articles and blogs on writing the, “perfect query letter,” I obviously, have not mastered.

“Well, at least you are learning to handle rejection well,” Mom said, oh-so optimistically.

Suddenly, it occurred to me, that this, alone, could be the engraving on my tombstone.  “Sarah was the master of dealing with rejection!”

Panicking, I immediately returned to my favorite internet site to launch a search for literary representation again, either fueled by my determination to master rejection or perhaps find that one agent, who is somewhere in this big, ugly world of publishing who just maybe for sixty seconds will consider reading one of my books.

And then, it’s as if everyone got the same idea at once.  Dark clouds gathered above…No, wrong story…The sun came peering through the cloudy abyss above, and… my husband suggests I start a blog.  My mother suggests I start a blog.  And then, my sister suggests I start a blog.

My mother and husband were kind of easy to ignore.  I came up with a million excuses.  Not entirely bad excuses, but still excuses… (“I am editing a manuscript and trying to pay attention to my children,” I argued.)  My sister, well, she’s another story, but let’s just say she’s impossible to ignore and extremely difficult to turn down.  She missed her calling as a motivational speaker and would be a highly respected CEO… (Just saying.)

So here I am, dear sister, officially starting a blog…I am a story teller and aspiring novelist…sharing what’s on my mind with the blogging world.  I may seem quirky, and at times, unbalanced, sharing endless, perhaps meaningless, real-life catastrophes and thoughts, but this is who I am.  My name is Sarah, and I’m a blogger…